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I love January.  Does that make me weird?  I also love Mondays, for the same reason – because I love a fresh start.  I’m that annoyingly perky girl at the office on Mondays – the one who says things like “Big day!  Lots to do!” and drives everyone crazy with her enthusiastic list-making.  I just love that feeling of being revved up, motivated and ready to go.  And in January, I take it to extremes.  I’m all about the healthy eating and I’m the most over-zealous gym rat you’ll find.  I make the same resolutions that everyone else makes.  I always go into January with plans to: (1) get more organized; (2) run a half marathon; and (3) be all zen and peaceful and stuff.  I always have high hopes for the year ahead, and even if I miss the mark on some of my resolutions, I never stop believing that I can make positive changes.  And at the end of the year, even if I’ve fallen short in some areas, I’m usually so happy with the way things are going in my life that I really have no complaints.  I’m annoying that way too.

So for all of my brothers and sisters on the January motivation bandwagon, I have a belated holiday gift for you: warm bean and edamame salad with feta.  If you want to eat healthy, here’s a great place to start.  This salad is pure protein – creamy navy beans, crunchy edamame, and tangy feta cheese wrapped in a silky squeeze of lemon juice, a pinch of salt and a bit of pepper.  It’s filling, satisfying, packed with good stuff like vitamins and minerals – and it’s vegetarian too!  The recipe makes so much that you’ll be guaranteed bonus leftovers for your lunches… unless you invite your whole Pilates class home with you. 

Warm Bean and Edamame Salad with Feta

1 package frozen edamame beans, pre-shelled, thawed
1 can navy beans*, drained and rinsed
1/2 block Greek-style Feta in brine, cubed
1 lemon
pinch kosher salt
pinch black pepper
extra-virgin olive oil

  • In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, warm a drizzle of olive oil – just enough to coat the bottom of the pan, no more.  Add the edamame and navy beans and heat until warmed through.  Remove from heat.
  • Add juice of one lemon, Feta cubes, pinch of salt and pepper (not much salt, because the Feta is salty), and an additional drizzle of olive oil, then toss all together.

Source: Adapted from Giada de Laurentiis

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Greek Tomato Salad

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I found beautiful yellow and red cherry tomatoes at the farmer’s market on Saturday, and I was planning homemade pasta with a two-color fresh tomato sauce.  But tonight, hubby and I were finishing up the lentil soup and the meal needed something else to make it complete – a salad of some sort.  I thought of the cherry tomatoes in the fridge, checked the deli drawer and saw some traditional Greek feta in brine, and Greek Tomato Salad was born.  I’ve got to say, I am so glad this salad came into my life!  The tomatoes are sweet, the feta is salty and briney, and there’s a perfect herbal bite from the scallions and oregano.  I know I’ll be making this again and again.

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Greek Tomato Salad

1/2 pint red cherry tomatoes
1/2 pint yellow cherry tomatoes
1/2 block of Greek feta in brine
1/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
1 scallion, thinly sliced
2 generous pinches of fleur de sel
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

  • Slice cherry tomatoes in half and place in a bowl.  Medium-dice the feta and add to the bowl, along with the scallion and oregano.
  • Season with salt and pepper, and toss everything together.

Source: Covered In Flour

Yield: Serves 2

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Note: If you can’t find yellow tomatoes, feel free to substitute all red, or half orange – whatever you can find.  I think this salad would be really fun with some of the more interesting-looking heirloom tomatoes as well, and you don’t even need to do cherry tomatoes; you could thinly slice regular ones, dress with the olive oil, salt, pepper and oregano, and lay them out on a long platter with the feta crumbled over the top.  (Just don’t buy it pre-crumbled; you really should try the traditional feta in brine.  It’s a revelation.)  Go crazy!

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